Five tips for the 2018 Super League Dream Team

5. Bill Tupou (Wakefield Trinity)

2013 was the last time that Wakefield Trinity had a player in the Super League dream team, with Danny Kirmond securing a spot in the prestigious line-up. If the club do not have anyone in the side this time around, they will certainly feel hard done to.

Bill Tupou is the kind of player who goes under the radar of most rugby league fans, yet to Wakefield Trinity supporters, the Tongan powerhouse is one of the strongest, most fearless players in the whole of the competition.

The 28-year old doesn’t grab the headlines as much as he should. He scores tries, works hard for his team and gains incredible metres.

In fact, the Tongan international has had more carries and made more yardage than anyone else in Super League this year; not bad for someone who can quite often go unnoticed.

It is often the forwards who put their hands up to take on the extra carries down the centre of the pitch. Wakefield’s big men must feel delighted to have someone with as strong a work ethic as Tupou offering to ease their workload.

In rugby league, the stats very rarely lie. In the case of Bill Tupou, the statistics all point towards his inclusion in the Super League dream team.

4. Josh Charnley (Warrington Wolves)

Josh Charnley may have only recently returned to the sport of rugby league having spent time at Aviva Premiership side, Sale Sharks, yet given his level of performance on a weekly basis, it would be hard to tell that he has ever been away.

Charnley has always been a hard-working, flamboyant, charismatic player whenever he has taken to the field. The winger has notched 15 Super League tries this year, joint most out of any player in Steve Price’s side, and has proved to be one of the shrewdest acquisitions of the season for any side.

The wing spots in the Super League dream team are always hotly contested, and it is true that there are other wingers in the league with more scores than Charnley.

However, it is those who are the all-round package; players who can defend like their lives depended on it, help out down the middle when required and run their blood to water for the team, who deserve to get recognised.

It would be a major shock to not see the 27-year old’s name in the final team, despite only recently returning to the game. Furthermore, with a full pre-season under his belt, it is scary to think how much Charnley can kick on next season and beyond.

3. Josh Drinkwater (Catalans Dragons)

It seems strange to think that Josh Drinkwater was thrown out into the wilderness following Leigh’s relegation to the Championship at the end of the 2017 campaign.

Fast forward 12 months and, after a brief spell at Intrust Super Cup side, Western Magpies, in Australia, the 26-year old is now back to his scintillating best at Catalans, the side that condemned the Centurions to the second tier less than a year ago.

At a time when Steve McNamara was struggling to find his perfect half-back combination following the retirement of Luke Walsh, Drinkwater arrived at the club and immediately exuded an air of confidence and certainty that was previously lacking.

In the space of six months, the Australia has developed into one of the most talented halves in the game and was pivotal in helping the Dragons achieve their first piece of club silverware.

Drinkwater will inevitably attract a lot of interest having only arrived at the Stade Gilbert Brutus on a one-year deal. The Dragons will be keen to extend his stay, but a place in the Super League dream team could intensify the speculation around his future.

2. John Bateman (Wigan Warriors)

2018 really has been the year that John Bateman developed from a talented fringe forward into one of the best ball-carrying big men in our country today.

If last weekend’s game against St Helens was anything to go by, Bateman is deadly from wherever he operates from. In all honesty, it doesn’t matter where he plays; at centre, he has the handling to match his power, and in the forwards, he has the brute force to match his immense desire to keep his side moving forward.

I don’t think that Wigan fans will realise how big of a player John Bateman is until he departs for the NRL.

If reports are to be believed, Wigan’s loss will most certainly be Canberra’s gain, and the fact that the Warriors have already tied him down as a marquee player upon his return shows how highly he is regarded in all corners of the globe.

Given the role he has played in pushing Shaun Wane’s side closer and closer to a date at Old Trafford, the perfect parting gift for the Bradford-born superstar would be a first inclusion in the Super League dream team.

1. Luke Thompson (St Helens)

There isn’t a lot that you can really say about Luke Thompson other than stating that an omission from the Super League dream team would be a hugely surprising call.

Like the aforementioned Bill Tupou, Thompson steers clear of the headlines and the plaudits and calmly goes about his work, as every good forward should.

The 23-year old has been at his boyhood club since the age of 11 and if he keeps performing to the high standards he has set thus far in his time in the first-team, he could well be a mainstay in the Red V of the Saints for another ten years to come.

Thompson is the youngest player on our five-man list but is undoubtedly the most ferocious competitor out of all of our choices.

A glittering career both home and abroad could await this young man, depending how he wants to challenge himself going forward. For now, though, a spot in the dream team is the least that he deserves.

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